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The Weight of Silence [Kindle Edition]

Heather Gudenkauf
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

<“Two little girls are missing. Both are seven years old and have been missing for at least sixteen hours.”

Calli Clark is a dreamer. A sweet, gentle girl, Callie suffers from selective mutism, brought on by a tragedy she experienced as a toddler. Her mother Antonia tries her best
to help, but is trapped in a marriage to a violent husband.

Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli have been heard
from since their disappearance was discovered.

Now Calli and Petra’s families are bound by the question of what has happened to their children. As support turns to suspicion, it seems the answers lie trapped in the silence of unspoken secrets.

Praise for Heather Gudenkauf

Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel.
Tess Gerritsen

Beautifully written, compassionately told, and relentlessly suspenseful.
Diane Chamberlain


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Review

'A great thriller, probably the kind of book a lot of people would chose to read on their sun loungers. It will appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult.' --Radio Times

'Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel.' --Tess Gerritsen

'Beautifully written, compassionately told, and relentlessly suspenseful.' --Diane Chamberlain

About the Author

Born with a hearing impairment, Heather became a voracious reader as a child and the seed of becoming a writer was planted. She lives in Dubuque, Iowa, with her husband, three children and German Shorthaired pointer. She is currently working on her next novel.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1379 KB
  • Print Length: 379 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (1 Dec. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RMSZ60
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment Heather tended to use books as a retreat. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and is currently a Literacy Coach, an educator who provides curricular and professional development support to teachers.

Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her third novel.

Heather's first novel The Weight of Silence was a TV Book Club pick.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where are they? 25 Jun. 2010
By Boof VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This story is spread over a sixteen hour period when two 7 year old girls both vanish from their houses on the same night, without a trace. Calli suffers from selective mutism and hasn't spoken since she was 4 years old, despite councelling and psychological help. Her best friend, Petra, understands Calli and acts as her mouthpiece to other friends and adults alike.

The book is written a chapter at a time by a different narrator: as well as the two girls, there is also Antonia and Ben (Calli's Mum and brother), Martin (Petra's Dad) and Sherrif Louis (who was an childhood sweetheart of Antonia's and is still in love with her). From the first realisation of a disappearance (at 4.30am) until the conclusion the reader is taken on a journey through the adults attempt to bring the girls home safely.

This may sound like the book is a thriller / mystery type and at times I did wonder if that was what it was trying to be: however if that was its intention then I'm not sure it works. There is a crime committed but it's pretty obvious "whodunnit" in both the girls cases fairly early on and the great revelation at the end falls a bit flat. The book really centres around Calli's muteness more than anything and her reasons for being that way. I also suspect that this was meant to be some great revelation too but again, it's not hard to work out why pretty early on.

I don't mean to sell the book short as, admitidly, it is a real page-turner. The short chapters that are alternately narrated by a different character means that the book has great forward momentum and I do like that in a book; one where you say "just one more chapter" and then again and again until you've read the whole thing before you know it.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By Jackie
Format:Paperback
The Weight of Silence is the final book in the TV Book Club's Summer Reads selection and as I'm drawn to books about families in crisis I decided to give it a try.

The book follows two families who wake one morning to discover that their 7-year-old daughters have disappeared. A frantic hunt for them begins with suspicion for their disappearance thrown on numerous people throughout the story.

The book was fast paced and made up almost entirely of dialogue - this combined with the fact that the book was narrated by six different people meant that I felt I was just skimming the surface, never really getting to know any of the individual characters or the motivations for their actions. I was dragged along by the action, forced to turn the page by the continual end-of-chapter cliff hangers, but never felt any emotional connection to the characters.

There were some tender moments and I especially liked this paragraph about marriage:

"People say that being a mother is the most important job you will ever have. And it is very important. But it is even more important, I believe, to be a wife, a good wife.... I don't mean you have to be a floor mat. That not what I mean at all. I mean, who you choose to walk with through life will be the most important decision that you will ever, ever make. You will have your children and you will love them because they are yours and because they will be wonderful....But who you marry is a choice. The man you choose should make you happy, encourage you in following your dreams, big ones and little ones."

But these moments of genius were rare and I ended the book feeling a bit disappointed. The resolution to the mystery of the girls' disappearance wasn't particularly original or surprising and I felt that certain plot points were a bit dubious.

Overall this was a light, entertaining read, but I don't expect to remember much about it next year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Janie U VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Two little girls have gone missing from their homes in the early hours of the morning - this book follows the stories of the various people involved.
The book is divided into short chapters which are narrated by different characters showing the difference perspectives, including those of Calli and Petra, the missing girls.
Calli's chapters are written in the third person which works as a contrast to the first person used for the other voices - she doesn't talk to anyone so why would she talk to a book!!
Right at the beginning the girls go missing, combine this with the fast pace and the reader is immediately given the feeling of panic being experienced across the town.
As the book progresses, the backgrounds of all the characters emerge, full of the inevitable secrets and hidden emotions.
The relationships between the characters are described very well - they are all slightly off the norm which makes for an interesting read (eg Toni and Louis - Calli and Ben).
The actual plot is very sensational with the twists and turns feeling too coincidental and, consequently, unreal in places.
The book is compared on the cover to Jodi Piccoult but does not have the same quality of a believeable plot, never the less, well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling novel of family and relationships 8 Feb. 2012
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In as many months, I seem to have coincidentally read three novels that focus on selective mutism in children; `Breaking the Silence' by Diane Chamberlain, `December' by Elizabeth Winthrop- and now this one. All of the books have their merits and all deal with the subject matter in different ways and all have made for enjoyable, informative reading.

This is the second novel by Gudenkauf that I have read. I really loved `These Things Hidden' so had high hopes for this one too. It didn't disappoint and I think the writing style is similar to Chamberlain or Picoult, so should you like those authors then you will probably enjoy this book as well.

Set in the US, this book features Calli, eight-years-old and selectively mute for four years, for reasons that slowly become clearer as the book unfolds. This is not just a story concentrating on Calli though; it is a look at friendships, relationships and family and was actually a much more absorbing read than I'd initially anticipated, particularly looking at some other less-than-favourable reviews this novel had received in the past.

As a reader you are immediately engaged with the novel and the different characters as you see events from their perspective. Sometimes a multiple narrator approach just doesn't work, but here thankfully, it was successful and really pulls you into the story. It also allowed the plot to untangle much more quickly. I was never bored whilst reading this novel.

I was however frustrated and also angry with a lot of the characters- particularly Calli's awful father and her mother who seemed blind to his faults. Though Griff (the father) was a horrible person it was actually Antonia, the mother, who came off as more irresponsible overall.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read !
Published 14 days ago by Cubbsy
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Bit slow in the middle but written well
Published 20 days ago by Ang
5.0 out of 5 stars The Weight of Silence - Amazing book
A truly amazing read! Highly recommend this book. A book of courage, emotion, and recovery. The book focuses on a young mute girl that finds her voice throughout the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kylie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A
Published 4 months ago by theresa morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good bok thanks
Published 5 months ago by Kathleen Michelle Coward
5.0 out of 5 stars Give This Author A Go-You'll Not Be Disappointed
An easy 5 stars. Loved this book. Do give this author a go if you haven't already-she's good. Yet her books usually centre around kids so not what you'd expect to draw me to them... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lynda Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fantastic read, keeping you enthralled to the end
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written, full of suspense
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller.
This book started off very slowly but built up to an excellent story. Told from different characters perspectives made it slightly repetitive but very interesting. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. M. F. V. Mcknight
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
My first Gudenkauf novel and certainly not my last!

The Weight of Silence is an excellent thriller and will leave you guessing until the very end. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nicole
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